Want a small Thanksgiving turkey? Better get it soon!


MIDDLEVILLE, Mich (WLNS) — Many people are making changes to their holiday plans this year, and with Thanksgiving right around the corner farmers are preparing for smaller get-togethers.

With COVID-19 gathering restrictions in place this year in Michigan, the problem for most families is having too much food to go around this year. That means, smaller turkeys are getting harder to find.

At Ottos’ Turkey Farm” in Middleville the owners sell three sizes of turkeys: 20 lbs, 15-16 lbs, and 12 lbs. They say, if you want a smaller bird, you need to get it right now.

The CDC says handling poultry incorrectly and undercooking it are the most common problems that lead to foodborne disease outbreaks linked to poultry. The CDC as four important reminders:

1. Thaw Your Turkey Safely

  • In the refrigerator in a container;
  • In a leak-proof plastic bag in a sink of cold water (change the water every 30 minutes); or
  • In the microwave, following the microwave oven manufacturer’s instructions.

2. Handle Your Turkey the Right Way

Raw poultry can contaminate anything it touches with harmful bacteria. Follow the four steps to food safety — clean, separate, cook, and chill– to prevent the spread of bacteria to your food, family, and friends.

  • Wash your hands with warm soapy water for 20 seconds before and after handling the turkey.
  • Do not wash raw turkey. During washing, turkey juices can spread in the kitchen and contaminate other foods, utensils, and countertops.
  • Use a separate cutting board for raw turkey.
  • Never place cooked food or fresh produce on a plate, cutting board, or other surface that previously held raw turkey.
  • Wash cutting boards, utensils, dishes, and countertops with hot soapy water after preparing the turkey and before you prepare the next item.

3. Cook Stuffing Thoroughly

Cooking stuffing separately from the turkey in a casserole dish makes it easy to be sure it is thoroughly cooked. If you cook stuffing in the turkey, put the stuffing in the turkey just before cooking.

With either cooking method, use a food thermometer to make sure the stuffing’s center reaches 165°F. Bacteria can survive in stuffing that has not reached 165°F and may then cause food poisoning. If you cook stuffing in the turkey, wait 20 minutes after taking the bird out of the oven before removing the stuffing; this allows it to cook a little more.

4. Cook Your Turkey Thoroughly

Set the oven temperature to at least 325°F. Place the completely thawed turkey in a roasting pan that is 2 to 2-1/2 inches deep. Cooking time will vary depending on the weight of the turkey. Use a food thermometer to make sure the turkey has reached a safe internal temperature of 165°F. Check by inserting a food thermometer into the center of the stuffing and the thickest portions of the breast, thigh, and wing joint. Even if your turkey has a pop-up temperature indicator, you should still use a food thermometer to check that it is safely cooked. Let the turkey stand 20 minutes before removing all stuffing from the cavity and carving the meat.

For more safety information from the CDC, click here.


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